What My Face Plant Taught Me About Myself (and Life)

Two shiners equal at least five lessons

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I was happy to start the weekend. Sporting my favorite casual high heels, I was busy chatting after dinner on Friday night and missed the curb. My nose hit the ground hard. Blood flowed. People came running. The restaurant manager came out with a cup of ice and many napkins. Had it happened in New York, people might have stepped over me on their way to make their reservations. But the outpouring of concern here in the Southwest (my new home) was reassuring.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”


OK. Perhaps that quote is a bit lofty under the circumstances. I sat on the curb for a while, stopped the nosebleed, and went home to ice myself and to search the web for home cures. I awoke the next morning with two dramatic black eyes and a face that would have made Jake LaMotta proud.

My younger daughter’s college essay was called “Sudden Snatches.” It was about all those unexpected, and sometimes unpleasant, things that happen in one’s life. I texted her to tell her what happened. I later texted my friend Dori (a professional make-up artist) to ask about camo cosmetics.

Lesson 1: You’re not alone in this world. People (even strangers) offer help and reassurance. Take them!

I then had to re-think my weekend plans. Everything I read on Google suggested I avoid strenuous exercise, so I canceled my gym activities. I used my time to catch up on a couple of big projects that I had filed in the “procrastination zone.”

Lesson 2: Necessity is the mother of invention. Or, at least it forces you to do stuff you don’t really want to do.

Lesson 3: You really CAN find almost anything on Google.

A friend invited me out for coffee. I sucked-up my pride, pulled-out my fave pair of cool sunglasses, patched my nose up with a bandage, and headed to Starbucks, reassuring myself that “true beauty comes from within.”

Lesson 4: Some basic staples to keep in your apartment (no matter how small it may be) are: an ice pack (especially a cold/hot one that looks and feels like a bag of peas — very versatile), bandages of all shapes and sizes, some kind of first aid salve, and pain killers.

After coffee, I headed over to the local beauty store and the amazing stylists in the “fix my face section” (as I dubbed it). They had extensive experience with burn victims, cancer patients, and people who need a little extra coverage and self-esteem boost. They worked magic. While I was there, a cancer survivor was having her make-up done.

Lesson 5 (the most important one of all): Despite how I felt about my injury, many people are facing way bigger challenges than mine.

I know that over the course of the week ahead my two black eyes will turn a wide range of colors and then they will gradually fade. I will go back to procrastinating on work projects and taking my facial features for granted.

Although my fall’s impact will only last a few weeks, I also realized that as we age we have to be even more grateful for our health when we have it. Resilience and coming up with a “Plan B” seems much easier for me now that I’m older too. I’ve written before about speed of healing as we age and am committed to accelerating that regeneration process in all aspects of my life. And although I will not stop wearing high heels, I’ll be sure to watch more carefully where I’m going (literally and metaphorically).

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